Men's tennis concludes season
The Big Green tennis team was in action for the final time this fall as it headed down to Princeton University for the Rolex Eastern Tennis Championships. In this highly competitive singles/doubles tournament, Dartmouth was hoping to put up some good numbers. And that it did, having three players advance to the round of 32.
The first day of the tourney, Dartmouth came out on fire as all five matches fell in favor of the Green. Erich Holzer '99 deftly handled his opponent from Penn State, Colin Smeeton, dropping him 6-4, 6-1. Fellow sophomore, Rob Simik '99 throttled Anthony Russo of LaSalle with his big shots in two quick sets, 6-1,6-0.
Freshmen stalwart, Andrew Evans '00 defeated his opponent in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5, while Rob Chen '00 took three sets to come out a winner, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5. The ever powerful doubles duo of Gabe Sauerhoff '99 and Simik was in the zone, smoking Townsen State, 8-2.
Both co-Captain Matt Fuller '97 and teammate Sauerhoff entered the tourney seeded, granting them first round byes.
"First day of Rolex at Princeton University was a shining success for the Big Green," Coach Chuck Kinyon said, "with Sauerhoff and Simik finishing off Towsen State in doubles to [give] a five match win streak for the team."
With all six guys entering the second round, day two of the Rolex had the Big Green battling it out early in the morning. Both freshman players Evans and Chen had difficult matches ahead of them, but true to their form, that didn't stop them. Evans took his match in two, 6-1, 7-6, against a talented Providence College contender. Chen pulled out all he had and downed Army's top player, Rich Michelski, in a tough 7-5, 7-6, victory.
But it was Holzer's game that was really on. Facing Harvard's number two man and eighth seed, Phillip Tseng, Holzer was supposed to be the underdog. But in a league with this much parity, predictions should be watched with a wary eye. Holzer, armed his smart play and a tough mental game, dropped Tseng in a convincing two set win, 6-4, 6-3.
"The win over Phil Tseng proved to myself that I can reach another level in tennis," Holzer said.
Fuller fell 5-7, 2-6 to Scott Watnik of Columbia. Simik also found himself in the hole as he had battle it out with freshman powerhouse Mike Russell of Miami. Eventually losing in two 6-3, 6-4, Simik held his own against the top recruit. Sauerhoff also ran into problems as he was tripped up 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, by Mike Pasarella of Harvard. The doubles team of Simik and Sauerhoff had difficulties against their Providence opponents, losing 8-4.
The third day saw the Big Green finally faltering. Holzer found himself down against Navy's top gun and then dropped in straight sets, 6-7, 4-6. Evans hit a brick wall as hit lost to a very experienced, number one Penn player, 6-3, 6-1. The final man, Chen, saw his run cut short as he went down fighting against Harvard's number one and top regionally ranked player, 6-4, 6-4.
At the beginning of the season, worries of whether to the team was too young created questions of its possible success. However as the Big Green tennis machine rounds out their fall season with an impressive record of 4-1 and strong showings at the tournaments, there are no doubts about how good this team is and will be.
The freshmen, as expected, rose to meet the challenges of college play and the upperclassmen continued their tradition of winning.
"As we head home to Hanover," Kinyon said, "we look forward to lots of hard work this winter and the challenge of the spring season in front of us."